What Is MVP And Why Do We Need It: The Subtleties Of Creating A Digital Product
by Sumona Business Development 01 August 2022
A Minimal Viable Product or MVP is an off-the-shelf product with limited functionality that is released to the market to test an idea. The most common application of the MVP concept is found in startups.
The team sets out to launch a new digital solution. To do this, it analyzes the market, existing competitors, and target audience. Given the information gathered, the team creates an MVP and gives users a taste of the product. After the feedback from the target audience, the team analyzes and improves the functionality.
With the help of an MVP, it is easier to convince investors of the sustainability of the idea. Startups do not come with a beautiful presentation and belief in the bright future of their proposal. They come with a product that was tested by users and has a tangible result.
Application of MVP development
The first and most used option is to test your startup idea. But a product with a limited set of features is used not only in such cases. MVP can be beneficial for existing businesses.
For example, a retailer wants to launch an online store – a serious step that can theoretically increase turnover and profits. But before launching a full-scale project and investing a big budget into it, you can test the idea with a Minimal Viable Product. If you need an MVP that gets results, go to an MVP development agency like https://www.purrweb.com/.
The Importance of MVP
Statistics show that only one in ten startups succeed. The fate of the rest nine – collapse and oblivion. The reasons for failure may be different: ineffectiveness of the team; absence of demand on the market, or defects in the product itself. This list can go on almost to infinity.
With the help of MVP, it is possible to reduce the risks or at least minimize the possible losses. Already in the initial stages, you can determine whether the product will be in demand among users. And based on this information, decide its further fate.
The developer of this concept, Eric Rice, called MVP development a “version of the product with which you can collect the maximum data about the customers, using the least efforts”.
Types of MVP
You know what exactly MVP development is, but now we need to decide what type of MVPs we have. There are several types of MVPs.
1. One type
This is the most popular type of MVP. It presupposes the launch of the product to check one parameter.
The algorithm for its launch is simple: the team works on MVP development with one particular option, goes to the market with it, tests it on the target audience, and gets the necessary feedback. After that, the conclusion is made if further development is worth continuing, or if it should be curtailed.
An example of this type of MVP development is a startup launched 15 years ago by Daniel Eck and Martin Laurenson. Their small service had one function: transferring media files. Today it is a well-known music giant – the online service Spotify.
2. The disjointed method
Such MVP development is applied if the development team wants to enter the market without creating a complex and expensive product. In this case, already ready solutions are combined into a working system and offered to users. After that, the founders of the startup gather feedback from the audience and decide on the future fate of the project.
For example, you can create a landing page to test the idea, collect contacts in a Google table, and send out emails through separate services. Using existing solutions, it is possible to find out whether there is demand from the audience without resorting to expensive, unique development.
This approach involves testing the viability of the product “in manual mode.” In this approach, the startup creators take over the “functions” of the future solution. They independently communicate with customers, enter them into a database, call the staff, buy tickets, and order products.
An example of using this method is the story of Chuck Templeton, who in the 90s founded a successful online service for restaurant reservations and ticket bookings. The project began with Templeton’s wife’s unsuccessful attempts to book a table at a good restaurant over the phone. She had been calling various establishments for hours, which inspired Templeton to make an interesting experiment.
He himself began making restaurant reservations for other people. He answered the phone, recommended establishments, and made reservations. The businessman did not invest in the project immediately but checked its viability beforehand. He also got to know his target audience and assessed their ability to pay.
4. Flintstone MVP
The method is very similar to the previous one, but has one important difference – the functionality of the product is fully simulated. Users are offered a high-quality illusion, but they don’t even guess about it. This method allows you to test the viability of the product without much investment and collect feedback from the target audience. The information is then processed and conclusions are drawn regarding future developments.
An example of using this method is the story of Nick Swinmern, who founded a successful online retailer for the clothing and footwear brand Zappos. Initially, he created a small website with pictures of shoes.
When orders started coming in, he would go to the store, buy the right shoes, and ship them to customers. So with MVP development he successfully tested the idea of creating a store, got feedback from users, and built a working scheme. With time his company turned into a successful business.
Mistakes of applying the MVP-concept
Let’s talk about the mistakes that are most often made while practicing the concept.
1. Unnecessary perfectionism
Wanting to make the product perfect at once is a misguided tactic, which leads to an unnecessary waste of money and time. It’s important to remember that the main goal is to test the viability of the hypothesis with minimal investment. Refinement of the product to an ideal state will come later, if, of course, it is needed.
To test a product, a small prototype with one or two working functions is enough. If the idea is useful to the audience, they will turn a blind eye to the simple appearance.
2. A product that doesn’t work
A simple product doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. The MVP concept suggests bringing a simple but working digital solution to market. Otherwise, positive feedback from the audience can be forgotten. This mistake is often called the flip side of unnecessary perfectionism.
3. Lack of communication with customers
Feedback is the engine of product development. Therefore, audience feedback is a major factor in the success of any MVP project. It’s not uncommon for a team to get so caught up in creating a product that they forget about it. They end up with a finished product that no one wants.
In order not to make such a mistake, at the early stages, you need to take care of the project’s metrics, by which you will watch the users’ loyalty. This can be the growth of traffic, the number of downloads of the application, completion of the feedback form, or the percentage of user churn.
4. Empty Promises
If you made a promise to your customers, you have to keep it. Keep this in mind when you do MVP development. Otherwise, instead of interest, you may get a negative reaction from your audience.
Usually, such things are done in good faith – startup founders overestimate their abilities and believe in the possibility of creating a “super product”. You always want to please the audience with cool plans, and if promises remain promises, the result of such statements is disappointment in customers. So keep a cool head and promise only what you can deliver.
It remains to summarize the above and focus on the most important:
- MVP development allows you to get quick feedback from users.
- For a startup to be successful, you need to create a product that is valuable to the consumer.
- Identify the most important features of the MVP and focus on them.
- Collect and respond to feedback from users.
And most importantly: In MVP development, avoid unrealistic promises and stop your inner perfectionist.
The idea of MVP corresponds to the concept of “lean startup”. The main purpose of creation is to test a concept or product on the market. It is based on its results that the business can make decisions about release. Steve Blank, the author of the customer development methodology, says that the main reason for the failure of successful projects by many metrics is the lack of knowledge of their customers.
CB Insights research also confirms this, according to which in 42% of cases the reason for the failure of a startup is the lack of market demand. The creation of MVP helps to understand the needs of the audience in the early stages of product development and not to release a product or service to the market that won’t be popular.
MVP is suitable not only for startups but also for enterprise solutions development. Often developing a new product is quite complicated, and changes are associated with serious risks. The Minimum Viable concept involves small and gradual changes, which are safe enough and allow you to implement features or updates without inconveniencing your customers.